Government Affairs Roundup

“Your Timely Roundup of Local, State, and Federal Updates”


Chamber members:

One item looks ready to be checked off of the December watch list. Seems as if sides have come together for a deal to prevent a government shutdown this weekend. See below for the new date that it will be pushed off until in 2022.

Watch your chamber email for the formal announcement of our December Legislative Coffee. This will be the fourth and final of 2021. We’ll welcome Caroline Portlock from our local Will County Workforce Investment Board to talk about the current state of the job market as well as a few other topics. Joining her will be Laura Manion from the US Chamber of Commerce Great Lakes office in Chicago. Laura will bring us up to speed on the Infrastructure bill, Build Back Better plan, government funding, the debt ceiling, and a 2022 outlook for Congress. Mark your calendar for Tuesday, December 14 from 8 to 9 AM. Full details will be released tomorrow when registration opens.

*Government Affairs Roundup brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital*

Lawmakers Reach Deal to Prevent Government Shutdown

Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement to extend government funding through Feb. 18, taking the first step toward avoiding a government shutdown this weekend.

With current funding set to lapse at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4, lawmakers will now move to rapidly bring the legislation through the House and Senate. The House is expected to pass the bill on Thursday.

Quickly passing the legislation in the Senate may be more complicated, though. Some Senate Republicans have pushed to attach a measure to the bill barring the Biden administration from enacting rules requiring many employers to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly for Covid-19.

While that demand had initially raised the possibility of a drawn-out procedural process for the bill that could cause a brief shutdown, GOP lawmakers indicated Thursday that an amendment vote on the vaccine issue would likely clear the way to an accelerated process for the funding extension.

Republicans and Democrats had haggled over the duration of the spending patch, as Democrats sought a shorter extension and Republicans pushed for a longer one. Some Republicans see extending current funding, which was set under the Trump administration, as a way to prevent Democrats from setting new spending levels for federal programs.

Lawmakers will aim to agree to and pass new, full-year spending bills by the February deadline.

“While I wish it were earlier,” said House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D., Conn.) of the proposed deadline, “this agreement allows the appropriations process to move forward toward a final funding agreement which addresses the needs of the American people.”

The legislation includes $7 billion for assisting evacuees from Afghanistan.

Bill would create database to address supply chain crisis

A group of bipartisan, bicameral lawmakers is hoping to push a supply chain bill through Congress during the final days of the year.

Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Reps. Norma J. Torres, D-Calif., and Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., are hoping to attach their draft bill, which would establish a national database aimed at streamlining the U.S. supply chain, to the pending National Defense Authorization Act but also reintroduced it Wednesday as a stand-alone bill in case it isn’t included in the final package.

The database is intended to minimize supply chain disruptions by giving manufacturers crucial information aimed at helping them choose how to retool to meet the need for products such as defense supplies or medical devices as necessary.

The lawmakers argue that during the early period of the COVID-19 pandemic, states understood what was produced in their states but weren’t aware of how dependent those in-state manufacturers were on out-of-state resources.

The legislation aims to use the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a public-private program housed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to assist small and medium manufacturers, to create a National MEP Supply Chain Database. That national database would consist of information from manufacturing extension partnership programs in all 50 states and in Puerto Rico.

A supply chain shortage spurred by increased consumer demand, clogged ports, inefficient deployment of a reduced number of long-haul truck drivers and other factors has become a crisis as Christmas approaches. This bill would provide a domestic alternative to overseas imports, making it easier for manufacturers to identify sources of raw materials, for example, or use information in the database to determine how better to distribute products.

The database would include company information, an overview of capabilities, accreditation and products, and proprietary information. In a statement announcing the bill’s introduction, Blackburn said it “will help bring needed transparency to manufacturers and businesses struggling to get their supply chains back on track.” Menendez, meanwhile, said the pandemic exposed “deep vulnerabilities in our own national supply chains that we are still dealing with as a country and that make us susceptible during moments of crisis.”

“Future pandemics, natural disasters, cyber-attacks, raw material shortages, and even trade disputes could cripple our supply chains right when we need to engage them most in order to deliver critical goods to the American public,” he said.

The bill is backed by groups such as the American Small Manufacturers Association but opposed by the National Taxpayers Union, which argues it would authorize $135 million for the database without offsets.

Illinois airport improvements announced

Gov. JB Pritzker had a pair of public appearances to celebrate infrastructure investments. First, he trekked to the Quad Cities to celebrate the upcoming completion of the new Interstate 74 Mississippi River bridge. There he was joined by federal and state officials from Illinois and Iowa to mark the bridge’s expected opening later this month. The bridge will include four lanes in each direction and improved safety, as well as a 14-foot-wide bike and pedestrian path. It’s been under construction for more than four years.

Later in Moline, the governor announced $94 million in capital funding will be released for the state’s airports, with another $11.5 million in local investments. Among the projects receiving funding, according to the governor’s office:

  • Bolingbrook’s Clow International Airport, $2.4 million for taxiway replacement, $75,000 for replacement of rotating beacon.
  • Joliet Regional Airport, $765,000 for their automobile parking lot
  • Morris Municipal ‐ James R Washburn Field, $14,729,187 to construct crosswind runway

A full list of recipients can be viewed at

Passed in 2019, Rebuild Illinois is investing a total of $33.2 billion over six years into the state’s aging transportation system, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history, but also the first one that touches all modes of transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

A total of $150 million of state bonds is identified in Rebuild Illinois for the state’s airports, with $6 million already committed to an air traffic control tower at Lewis University Airport in Romeoville and additional funding committed to airports in Waukegan and Metro East.

Governor Pritzker Announces $300 Million in Nation-Leading Child Care Recovery Grants

Governor JB Pritzker and Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Grace B. Hou today announced that $300 million in new relief grants will be made available to childcare providers across the state. The state is also extending a previous grant program by providing nearly $50 million to previous grant recipients. This brings the state’s childcare pandemic relief grant total to more than $1 billion.

Hailed as a national model, Illinois’ childcare grant program has provided unprecedented stability for the industry, with 97 percent of 2020’s grant recipients still open and operating today. Already, $725 million in funding has reached more than 5,000 providers, with 85 percent of eligible childcare centers and 40 percent of licensed family childcare homes receiving direct relief.

“Illinois was heralded as a leader in supporting our childcare ecosystem at the beginning of the pandemic, and we never stopped – today we’re surpassing $1 billion in grant funding for providers since the pandemic began,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Supporting this sector is one of the best investments we can make as a state. We’re making good on our pledge to turn Illinois into the best state in the nation for families to raise young children.”

“Strengthening the childcare infrastructure lays the groundwork for uplifting families across our state, and this additional funding builds upon our administration’s historic efforts to support children from the first years of life,” said Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. “We are committed to advancing equity for the most marginalized communities in Illinois, and ensuring young children and families have access to affordable, quality childcare opens up so many opportunities to a brighter future. I’m proud of the work we have accomplished, and I look forward to continuing our mission of making Illinois the best state to raise a family.”

Applications for this newest round of funding are due in early January, with funding beginning to flow in February 2022 and through January 2023. This will support childcare providers with approximately $25,000 per classroom per year, childcare group homes with $15,000 per year, and childcare homes with approximately $10,000 per year. With an eye toward equity, additional funding will be made available for programs that demonstrate they reach underserved communities. These grants will support providers with predictable funding to cover increased wages and other operational costs.

To help recruit and retain staff, at least 50 percent of these funds must be invested in new personnel and workforce initiatives, with a focus on increasing compensation and benefits.

In addition to the new $300 million grant program, Governor Pritzker and Secretary Hou announced today a $45 million, six-month extension to the Child Care Restoration Grants to best assist providers not eligible for the new round of grants.

The administration’s comprehensive support programming has prevented the mass closure of childcare facilities across the state and provided parents with safe places to care for their children as they reenter the workforce. Among various programs to help working families, the Governor decreased Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) co-pays for 80 percent of participating families. Families with incomes below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level have seen their monthly co-pays reduced to $1.

This next batch of relief dollars is one of three childcare initiatives Governor Pritzker announced in September. In addition to the relief grants for providers, the Governor announced the low-cost childcare program for parents and guardians looking for work, as well as a bonus of up to $1,000 for eligible childcare workers. The bonuses are currently in the process of being paid out, and once fully disbursed, will total $100 million.

Today’s announcement builds and furthers the Governor’s commitment and financial support to the early childhood system throughout the pandemic. Application information about the newest round of grants and Restoration Grant extension will be available for providers through the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (INCCRRA).

Currently, more than 95,000 Illinois children are served through the CCAP. For more information on childcare support opportunities, visit the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Early Childhood.

Governor Pritzker seeks another $200 million in federal rental assistance

After receiving more than $1 billion from the federal government to help residents behind on their rent, the state of Illinois is asking for more.

The state is seeking another $200 million in aid from Washington for its Illinois Rental Payment Program, according to a spokesman from the Illinois Housing Development Authority, which administers the state program. The program provides emergency funding for tenants who can’t pay their rent after losing jobs or suffering other economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congress has authorized $47 billion in rental assistance over the past couple years, money that’s being distributed by state governments. But some rural states, like Montana and North Dakota, haven’t used up all their funding, so the U.S. Treasury Department is reallocating their money to states running low on rental-aid dollars, like New York, Texas and Illinois.

“Gov. Pritzker has requested for reallocated funds to be sent to Illinois to ensure vulnerable households do not have to worry about eviction,” the IHDA spokesman wrote in an email. “We are hopeful more aid will come to Illinois and to continue providing this necessary assistance.”

IHDA has already doled out more than $800 million in federal rental aid, $571 million through its Rental Payment Program and about $231 million through an earlier program, the spokesman said. The agency is getting ready to reopen the current program Dec. 6, funded by an additional $250 million to $300 million allocated through the American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill President Joe Biden signed in March, he said.

Through Oct. 20, IHDA had reviewed more than 111,000 applications for assistance through the Illinois Rental Payment Program. To date, the agency has provided aid to help more than 62,400 Illinois households through the program. The money is paid directly to a household’s landlord.

To qualify for assistance, applicants must be able to demonstrate financial hardship due to the pandemic and cannot earn more than 80% of their area median income. The money can cover past-due rent and rent due in the next three months. Total funding is capped at $25,000.

Though Illinois and other populous states have more applicants than dollars, other states face the opposite situation. Montana had distributed just 11% of its $200 million in rental aid by the end of September while North Dakota had distributed 4%, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Stay well,

Mike Paone
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry
815.727.5371 main
815.727.5373 direct